SPF travels to Greece with Rep's Theatre's Mamma Mia


Haley Cino

The Repertory Theater production of “Mamma Mia!” which first opened on Mar. 8 was a huge success. Director Morgan Knight along with cast, crew and the pit put on a phenomenal performance.
The show starred seniors Katie Lamendola as Donna, Lauren Barth as Lisa, Rachella Carlino as Sophie, Paolo Batotas III as Sky, John DeMarco as Eddie, Matthew Mahmet as Sam Carmichael and Peter Canavari as Sam Bright. Based on the play written by Catherine Johnson, “Mamma Mia!” is based on the songs of ABBA, a Swedish pop/dance group active from 1972 to 1982 and one of the most popular international pop groups of all time, topping the charts again and again in Europe, North and South America and Australia.
Countless hours went into molding the show into the amazing finals performances and the cast, crew and pit worked for months on end. The standing ovation at the ends of the performances for the actors were well-deserved.
“We started rehearsing in early January, most full cast rehearsals would involved Knight working on different scenes and refining or fixing the basic blocking and scene work that was done in early rehearsals,” said Canavari.
The word spread quickly around Scotch Plains and Fanwood about just how good the play was which led to four sold out shows and people asking to buy more tickets online.
“I think everyone thought that a lot of people were going to come because “Mamma Mia!” is so popular but I don’t think anyone expected us to sell out as much as we did, especially with selling out so far in advance,” said Canavari. “I think that the whole aspect just really boosted everyone’s morale and energy during the shows and made everything feel so much more vibrant while performing.”
Some standout moments from the show include Lamendola’s performance of “The Winner Takes It All” captivated the crowd and rose them to their feet. The performances of “Dancing Queen” along with “Take a Chance on Me” resulted in huge applause from the audience.
The one thing that surprised the crowd the most was the performance of “Waterloo” at the very end of the performance. While not in the playbook, “Waterloo” surprised the audience and caused many to sing along.
Another highlight was the comedy, especially during the signature Mamma Mia song. The three dads were frozen for majority of the song. However, when they were hit with a spotlight they sang the phrase “Mamma Mia”.
There was plenty of skilled dancing during this musical. Did all this movement mess up the singers? No. The dancing and singing went hand-in-hand.
Finally, the set was amazing. Viewers complimented the beautifully constructed “hotel” on the stage. Strobe lights and an encore finished off the show.
It will be tough to top this musical, but who knows? Maybe the high school theater group will put on “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” next year!